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Grand Staircase-Escalante

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Oct 11th, 2011, 08:08 AM
  #1
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Grand Staircase-Escalante

We have two nights in between our time at Monument Valley and reservations at the South Rim and would like to see Grand Staircase. We've considered driving from MV to Page, AZ and using that as our base to explore the western part of Grand Staircase, including Willis Creek and Grovesnor Arch before stopping at Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend on the way to the South Rim. Can anyone advise on driving times from MV to Page? Also, would it be better to drive north to Escalante and spend the day in that part of the park before heading south? Any advice you can provide on driving times would be appreciated. Thanks!
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Oct 11th, 2011, 08:30 AM
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The only north/south roads are 191 thru Moab or 89 that goes between zion and Bryce Canyon.

It's a 2.5 hour drive from Monument Valley to Page and another 3 hours to Cannonville.

Grosevenor Arch and Willis Creek are near each other. Both require dirt road driving. The drive to Willis Creek is more of an adventure.

Before suggesting things, I'd like to know how you get to Monument Valley. If you're coming from SLC or LAS I'd go to Escalante before Monument Valley probably.

While Grosvenor Arch is nice if you've been to Arches NP and if your time is somewhat limited I'd choose Willis Creek over Grosvenor Arch. Especially if you haven't been thru a slot canyon.

If you do go to Willis Creek check with the visitors center in Cannonville about the condition of the road. As I wrote it's a bit of an adventure. Dirt, sandy road with hills and some curves. There won't be anybody else on the road (almost) so you have both sides to yourself.

There's now a sign on the road. Willis Creek is an easy hike and there are a couple of very small waterfalls. Walk at least 4 or 5 slots as they get taller as you go.

Make sure there's no rain in the area as a slot canyon isn't the place to be in bad weather.
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Oct 11th, 2011, 08:51 AM
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We're going to Monument Valley from Phoenix and then back to Phoenix after going to the South Rim. We've been to Arches before and had hoped to go to Zion on this trip but don't have enough time hence the desire to instead see Grand Staircase and hopefully a slot canyon or two.

Is it worth driving up 95 to 12 and coming around the northern part of Grand Staircase? Approximately now long would this take? And does anyone know a good site to estimate driving times? I fear Marpquest and the like are terribly inaccurate due to the varying road conditions.
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Oct 11th, 2011, 09:22 AM
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You say in your other thread you want to limit the driving. Going up Hwy 95 and coming around 12 is going to be a lot more driving than just biting the bullet and go to Zion which was your first choice.

With two nights it's only 240 miles from Monument Valley to Zion. You can hit Antelope Slots Canyon either on your way to Zion or on your way back to the S. Rim.

Utahtea
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Oct 11th, 2011, 09:46 AM
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Willis Canyon is pretty remote, and I wonder if it is worth the day it will take you to get there and back from Page. I think the appeal of Willis Canyon is that it is lonely and free if you are in the area. It doesn't sound like a good investment in time for you, esp if you are seeing Antelope already.

MV to Page is about 5 hours.
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Oct 11th, 2011, 10:04 AM
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From you other post-I think you will be just fine with Monument Valley in a day. It is ok, but isn't my favorite place in UT/AZ.


It's going to be closer to Zion than Willis Creek and Grosvenor.

You could drive a little ways North or Monument Valley and see
Moki Dugway, Goosenecks of the San Juan, drive thru Valley of the Gods, Muley Point, and Natural Bridges National Monument. Sipapu Bridge at Natural Bridges is really awesome.

Of course, you Page idea would be fine too.

I'm thinking that Grosvenor and Willis Creek is to far out of your way. Maybe save it for a trip to Zion/Bryce in the future. You really can't go wrong, its all good.

How much hiking do you plan to do? What are you going to do with that much time at Grand Canyon?
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Oct 11th, 2011, 10:08 AM
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I got to thinking about this. Utah and Arizona are in different times zones. However, the Indian Reservation in Arizona is the same time as UT time. You'll just want to make sure of this, as it royally confuses me every time.
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Oct 11th, 2011, 10:25 AM
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Page would be a good place to stay, though it would not be a good base to visit either Willis or Grosvenor arch.

Kanab would be better for those if that is what you want to do. You could access Glendale Bench road for Willis and the Cottonwood Wash road for Grosvenor. However both of those are dirt roads and subject to rough if not impossible-when-wet driving. Plus if you are in a rental car your contract most likely prohibits dirt roads. So I'm not sure either of those are a good idea for you.

I find google maps to be fairly accurate for time and certainly for distance.

I offer you two options.
1) Stay in Page (3 hrs from MV to Page). Take your time, visit Navajo Natl Monument along the way. Visit Antelope canyons, the dam, hike horseshoe bend, go to the Big Water visitors center and maybe head past that to the trailhead for the Paria toadstools (get directions at visitorcenter), take the drive to Lee's Ferry and see Lonely Dell ranch and the Navajo Bridges. Take a raft trip down the colorado or a boat tour to Rainbow Bridge. You could easily take two days there even without Grand staircase.

2) stay in Kanab (about 4 hrs from MV). Do this ONLY if you are comfortable traveling dirt roads and KNOW that they are in good condition. You could do a round trip to Willis slot from the Glendale Bench road, along the Skutumpah road over to the Cottonwood wash road to Grosvenor, up to Kodachrome SP and around past Bryce (doubt you'd have time for a quick peak but go see it if you do), back to Kanab. That would definitely take all day.
You could also visit Coral Pink Sand dunes, Best Friends animal Sanctuary, take the other route 89A back to South Rim and stop at the rest stop south of Fredonia for one of the best looks at the "Grand Staircase". Enjoy a visit to the Lee's Ferry area etc.
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Oct 11th, 2011, 10:28 AM
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Firstly, any relationship between Willis Creek slot canyon and Antelope Canyon is strictly because they both have the word cnayon in them.

Antelope Canyon is an attraction and Willis Creek is a sight to visit and hike. I wouldn't say the appeal of Willis Creek is that it is "lonely".

Going to one has nothing to do with eliminating the other. Totally, totally different.

Now that I see where you're coming from (south) I wouldn't drive all the way to Cannonvile and Grosvenor Arch and Willis Creek.

It's probably closer to go to Zion.

Page to Zion is less than 2.5 hours. Still a lot of driving to go each way in two days. But doable.

However, what I would be more tempted to do is go to Sedona on the way from Page to PhX.
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Oct 11th, 2011, 07:00 PM
  #10
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Thanks all for the advice. I thought Grand Staircase would be a good option and shave a little driving off instead of the long trip to Zion but it seems that with the few, slow-going roads, it would be just as long. So, we'll stick with our original plan and make the trek to Zion. We'll stop on the way from MV to see Antelope Canyon and then hike the Narrows on the following day. On the third day we'll make the drive back to the South Rim. Any recommendation of a short (less than 2-3 hours) stop on the way from Springdale to the South Rim to help break up the drive and maybe stretch the legs a bit? It sounds like it makes most sense to do Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyons at the same time. Any other worthy stops?
Thanks again for all your help. Hard to believe our trip is only few days away (and I am still tinkering)!
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Oct 11th, 2011, 08:48 PM
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If you head south out of Kanab to 89A you will go past Lee's Ferry. It is a great place for a short stop. Look for Lonely Dell as well, the home where the ferryman lived. There is a hike there called Cathedral Wash. I haven't done it, but hear it is wonderful. It is the right length about the right place in the drive: http://www.nps.gov/glca/planyourvisi...alwashhike.htm
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Oct 12th, 2011, 04:25 AM
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Since your adventurous enough to do The Narrows you might consider Angels Landing Too. Both a very spectacular!! You can rent your shoes, sock, and wetpants(if you need pants)at Zion Adventure CO. Check with rangers before doing The Narrows-you don't want to be in there if it is going to rain.
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Oct 12th, 2011, 05:46 AM
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If you're looking for a stop between Zion and GC to stretch your legs I have an excellent choice.

You will be on Rt 89. As you pass Page, just south of Rt 98 (that's the road that goes to Antelope Canyon), on the right (west) side of the road you'll see a sign for Horseshoe Bend.

Just pull into the parking lot. It's a 3/4 mile easy, open hike. At the end there's no screen, fence or barrier. Just 1000 feet down where the Colorado makes a horseshoe-shaped bend.

Fantastic view.

When you return just get back into the car and continue south towards GC.
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Oct 12th, 2011, 11:48 AM
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A lot of people rave about the animal shelter in the area. I don't know the name. I think it's even a B&B, but it gets high marks on everyones list. Not my thing, but might be yours.
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Oct 12th, 2011, 07:45 PM
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<"...animal shelter in the area. I don't know the name"

Best Friends animal shelter is just north of Kanab. A wonderful sanctuary for homeless pets.
Staying on property is reserved for volunteers I believe.
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